• 29 Oct 2014 /  Reviews

    SEE NO EVIL 2

    2014/15/87m

    “You will pay for your sins.”

    Directors: Jen & Sylvia Soska / Writers: / Cast: Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Chelan Simmons, Greyston Holt, Lee Majdoub, Michael Eklund.

    Body Count: 7

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    Eight years isn’t the longest gap between horror sequels (look at Psycho II!), but it’s sufficient enough for any momentum gained by the original film – a $15million box office harvest – to have dwindled.

    In that film, delinquent teenagers sent to a dilapidated hotel to serve their community service sentences, were stalked and slain by the hulking maniac who resided there and liked to snatch their eyes from their skulls, as they are the ‘windows of the soul’ blah, blah, blah…

    Here, if Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter‘s first act had played out for the duration, this is kinda how it might be… The bodies of the victims and Jacob Goodnight are brought to the local mortuary, where Amy (official scream queen Danielle Harris) is about to head out to celebrate her birthday, but opts to stay behind and help. Her shunned friends instead bring the party to her.

    So, three morticians, four other young adults having a party, one ‘dead’ psycho. How could it go wrong?

    Cadaver-fetishist Tamara (lesser scream queen Katharine Isabelle) dry humps the body, and then proper-humps her boyfriend, only for Goodnight to say good morning and begin slaughtering them uno by uno, using a cache of medical blades found in the morgue. But he’s over the eye thing, it seems. Nobody loses theirs.

    Sooner than usual in these things, the other characters recognise their predicament and try to escape, making all the usual errors, getting split up, and running into Goodnight, who, fittingly, has a Jason-like ability to teleport into the exact place he needs to be to pounce on the next squealing victim, including one poor schmuck in a wheelchair.

    Once numbers are whittled down to the expected two finalists, See No Evil 2 spins in a slightly different direction to what we expected. Ultimately, it doesn’t make much of a difference to the way things end, but at least the Soska Sisters have tried to do something different with that part of formula, even if the rest of it is a parade of seen-it-all-befores.

    The changes are, however, too little to make the film anything other than mildly diverting, though it’s not as infuriating as the first film (with all those horrible, horrible characters), and some of the performances, Isabelle’s most notably, are all over the place in what might or might not be a misfired attempt at comedy. But she’s a dead ringer for my cousin, so I can let it slide.

    Strangely, the best part of the whole experience was the melancholy ending, where the camera revisits the resting places of each victim. If only this level of care was taken with the rest of the movie.

    Blurbs-of-interest: Harris can be found in Halloween‘s 4, 5, and both of Rob Zombie’s remakes, Urban Legend, Hatchet‘s II and III, Blood Night and Camp Dread; Katharine Isabelle was Gibb in Freddy vs Jason and was also in Bones; Chelan Simmons was in Final Destination 3 and Tucker & Dale vs Evil.



  • 24 Oct 2014 /  *Gasp!* It's you!

    Want to get decapitated? Course you do! Well, now here’s your chance…

    All of us have encountered Kickstarter campaigns for films that will probably never see the light of day. Or will be crap when they do.

    How about one that looks like A). it will get made and B). might be pretty good?

    Behold:

    Pitched as a horror comedy from the get-go; a quartet of undead mass murderers are resurrected by a dodgy game of D&D at a Halloween party, thrusting a group of teens into a laughter-tinged fight for survival. Slashtastic stuff.

    Take a look at the teaser trailer here.

    Pay a visit to their Kickstarter page and learn how you (yeah, YOU) can contribute and even land a role as a beheadee. Though it looks like there’s only one of these prizes still up for grabs as of today.

    Never fear, there are still plenty of other rewards for those who contribute, including bespoke Grindhouse posters that feature your mug, the opportunity to get your photo in the movie, bag a prop, or – and this is tempting – get to name a victim after someone you hate.

    This kind of approach could well be the future of non-studio horror movies and while I’ll use this opportunity to reiterate that I am NOT involved with the production in any way, it sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun regardless. Now go and get your head cut off.

  • 19 Oct 2014 /  Reviews

    THE DEMON

    1979/18/89m

    “It is among you… waiting!”

    A.k.a. Midnight Caller

    Director/Writer: Percival Rubens / Cast: Jennifer Holmes, Cameron Mitchell, Craig Gardner, Zoli Markey, Mark Tanous, Moira Winslow, Peter J. Elliott.

    Body Count: 7

    Laughter Lines: “Just because I’m not married even my mother thinks I’m on the other side.”

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    Believe it or not – and I probably wouldn’t – this Dutch/South African production has some of the best acting I’ve ever witnessed in a slasher movie, thanks to some well crafted dialogue from writer/director Rubens (at least most of it anyway), but stalls at two stars because it’s so excruciatingly boring until the last twenty minutes, when the Halloween clichés start to come thick and fast.

    Mitchell plays a detective who is “just someone who’s been gifted with ESP” investigating the kidnapping of a girl from her bedroom by a mystery killer who wears – but unfortunately rarely uses – a steel-clawed glove, and is now after pretty kindergarten teacher Holmes, who’s seriously-misinformed cousin Jo is dating a slick disco bunny. Both of those two are doomed, natch.

    Simply one of the weirdest flicks you will ever see; Mitchell’s character never even comes within spitting distance of Holmes, and is eventually shot dead by the kidnapped (and now dead) girl’s mother  (“did your ESP see this coming?”) and the two plots only have the killer to relate them!

    The final showdown between heroine and killer is rousing enough, on the heels of her attempted escape in nothing but panties. Alas, too many boring murders (usually strangulations and asphyxiations) and the damage is done. Look for the sign to “Boobs Disco”.

    Blurbs-of-interest: Cameron Mitchell was also in Valley of Death, Jack-O, Toolbox Murders, and Silent Scream.



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  • 13 Oct 2014 /  Read

    I’ve been at it again, pen to paper (or rather fingers-to-keyboard) and today sees the ‘release’ of my third foray into horror-literature with The Blood Season, a brazen homage to all things Friday the 13th.

    On the last night at Camp Conquest, a sports and drama summer camp for teens, a particularly inventive and vicious sociopath sets about realising his (or her?) dream, and begins murdering the remaining staff and campers.

    This was originally written some years back and, during the subsequent drafting, I was surprised at how gruesome and sadistic it became in places. Thus, the published version has been somewhat ‘toned-down’ (a less intended tribute to Friday‘s MPAA battles). But there’s still a ballistic body count, castrations (ouch!), death-by-swingball, decaps, throat-slashings, amongst others…

    All of this carnage for £1.92/$3.09!

    (Click your currency to take you there. Or, visit thy country’s own Amazon. I really should know where it’s available, don’t ya think?)

  • In this feature, we examine the lesser beings of the slasher movie realm, which, if you’re making your own slasher film, could provide a good cast roster for you.

    No killer or final girl profiles here, this is a celebration of those underlings who made the most of their fleeting flirtation with stardom. And usually died.

    This month, we’re looking at the dope smokin’, pot lovin’, STONERS!

    Overview: In the realm of the slasher film, just as most groups of young people feature some hot lesbian chicks, a black girl with attitude, an asshole jock, amongst others, so does they include a post-hippie movement stoner; a boy (or girl) who lives to smoke the wacky tobaccy. This is because, in film generally, people are entirely one-dimensional.

    Linguistic Snapshot: “Chill out, man, things’ll be OK… let’s just smoke the rest of this joint and worry about finding the others later…”

    Styling: Stoners aren’t particularly dressy folk; comfortable, loose-fitting clothes seem to be the going-thing, unkempt, often long hair for guys, sideburns or Shaggy-style beardery… Girls favour floral prints, the occasional headband, perhaps small round Ozzy Osbourne-esque sunglasses.

    Hallmarks: Stoners are amongst the most disposable of slasher movie stock backgrounders because, like slutty girls, aggressive jocks et al, they are coded as morally corrupt by the puritanical overlords who decide only nice boys and girls will get the chance to fight another day. Thus, while providing approximately 78% of the jokes in any given slasher movie, there’s rarely anything of substance to be glimpsed beneath the hazy surface.

    To quote previous SBC prankster Shelly in Friday the 13th Part III: “Is that all you two are going to do this weekend – smoke dope? There are better things to do with your life…” To which, the hollow reply is: “I can’t think of any.”

    Would’ve been awesome if Chili had instead said: “Yes, Shelly, there are. All this week I was working on a cure for cancer, then I saved some endangered birds, fed the homeless, started a Human Rights campaign so now… I just wanna forget all that and get stoned. PROBLEM?”

    It’s only smokage man… Cut ‘em some slack, overlord-Jack.

    Downfall: Typically, in their permanent state of cloudy-mind, the Stoner will die and barely even realise it. This is likely supposed to be some right-wing sponsored lesson in drugs = death. However, one awesome chink the chain is in R.S.V.P. where ‘modern day alchemist’ Terry (played by professional Stoner Jason Mewes) is made immune to the poison he ingests thanks to the concoction of drugs he’s been on for years. See also The Cabin in the Woods for a similar, weightier outcome.

    Genesis: Kids n’ drugs n’ psycho killers have been chugging along in the background of the genre since its early days. Barely a Friday the 13th passes without a joint being handed around, and the quintet of camper-van cruisin’ youngsters in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre were surefire candidates for a good time. In a genre which really came together in the 70s, this should be no surprise. However, possibly the earliest representation of drug use equating to bad moral standards is found in Halloween, where good-girl Laurie tries to fit in with her more worldy friends by toking on Annie’s rollie, only to suffer a coughing fit.

    Legacy: Since Laurie failed at being a pothead, this shortcut to doom has been used over and over again to stamp ‘dead’ on the foreheads of various teens. Beyond all the Friday usage, there’s the girl who tries weed and sex for the first time on the same night and dies literally seconds later in Prom Night; the ‘Shit Sisters’ of Sleepaway Camp II, who are so far gone they barely realise the killer is barbecuing them alive; and the neo-hippies of The Tripper, stuck in the 60s, branching out to acid, and suffering the effects of slow-reaction times when the Ronald Reagan-disguised loon comes at them.

    The stoners in The Cabin in the Woods and Simon Says both harbour deep crushes on the final girl and, in the latter, is willing to sacrifice himself so that she can live. Awww…

    Can you try drugs and live? Why yes. Just because Laurie choked, doesn’t mean that a little toke here and there spells doom: Alice has a little smoke in the original Friday and is the only survivor (though she dies at the beginning of Part 2); and the final girl in the aforementioned Tripper is spared (though she ‘learns’ drugs are bad). But these mercies are few and far between.

    Conclusions: Don’t do drugs, kidz! …is the standard lesson of the slasher film realm. Like pre-marital sex, taking an interest in the gothic, experimenting with your sexuality, or playing pranks – more often than not it earns you a one way ticket to the boneyard. Who knew slasher films were so conservative? Well, all of us. But there’s a certain irony isn’t there? The Mary Whitehouses of the world were all “blah, morals, blah, blasphemy, blah, downfall of society…” when if they’d actually watched a slasher film, they’d see that all the sins they moan about were being addressed and answered with a cleaver in the face.

    If you wanna smoke pot, go right ahead, enjoy your life but be forewarned that it tends to mean you’ll DIE*

    *if you’re in a slasher film.

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